photo credit: Gregor Laubsch
author: Zornitsa Gurkova
About the Guelphs and the Ghibellines
In the late Middle Ages, two major political factions fight for their ideas for the unification of fragmented Italy. These are the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, respectively – adherents of the religious and the secular idea of the world. Gibelin (note – in order to simplify matters some of the letters in the original name were removed) is also the name we will come across numerous times throughout this text to test what is the connection with Pre-Renaissance Italy, who and what is behind Gibelin Events and why such projects matter. We talk about this with the co-founder and manager of the agency – Dilyana Velichkova.
Dilyana, when and how did Gibelin start and did the original idea change over the years?
Gibelin was born in 2011 together with Future Sounds of Sofia. At the time, we were co-organizers of a drum and bass event at club Mixtape 5 in Sofia, and they were the performers. Today, eight years later, everyone goes their own way, our agency is active primarily in Berlin, but has not yet completely left the native scene. During this time, we made many mistakes, but also gained experience in different cultural surroundings.
Dante is expelled from Florence by the Black Guelphs, spends his life writing “Divine Comedy” in exile. What is Dante’s value to you at Gibelin Events?
Our name is indeed inspired by Dante Alighieri, who is a contemporary of these political struggles, and he himself is a symbol of Renaissance humanism as the philosophy of modern times that unleashes the mind of man as a creator. We take as our credo the words from Divine Comedy: “Follow your path and let people talk whatever they want.“
What is the cause that keeps your efforts focused?
To say that the cause is to promote Bulgarian culture in Germany will not be quite accurate. It is more accurate to say that by promoting different cultures in Germany, we aim to create rare events for people with a keen interest in quality experiences. And I intendedly say “experience”, not specifically a concert or a theater play, because our focus is precisely on the experience of the audience. Because anyone can organize a simple straightforward event, but not everyone has regard to the small details that engage the senses of the guest. It is exactly this focus that sets us apart from the competition, whose presence, of course, is encouraging and useful for the development of our future activity.
What do you expect from the artists you work with?
Not only from the artists, but also from our partners, we expect the right evaluation for quality communication and production. We do not compromise on the quality, hence we sometimes lose, but what is lost is clearly not deserved enough.
You work with many different artists – among the names I see Oratnitza, a fusion formation where traditional folklore aligns with modern arrangements. What is the value of the sound of the other formations and artists you meet in your work?
Fusion projects are nowadays extremely valuable and we rely mainly on them, looking for similar projects not only in Bulgaria. There is one particular niche in the music world that can easily be filled with native production, because the demand is palpable to audiences in Germany but not intended for mass consumption.
Putting aside YouTube, Soundcloud, or Spotify, what are some other ways artists can reach their audience today?
These platforms that you list are just digital channels for promoting a product. Today’s society, with all other mediators and social networks, requires transparency. I personally think that artists who actively participate in public life, whether defending a particular cause or creating a subversive image, have a greater chance of establishing themselves as leading figures and their art work to reach a broader and more diverse audience.
Are there any projects that have brought you more satisfaction and made you proud of?
These collaborations, which are systematically repeated over the years, bring us more satisfaction because we can set the basis for comparison, build conceptually, and monitor development in a job well done. A great example of this, as I mentioned earlier, was the Oratnitza spring tour, with eight concerts all over Germany and Luxembourg.
What is to come from Gibelin Events?
Gibelin found its new passion in theater and cinema, but music always remains our number one priority. We are working on several tours of Bulgarian and foreign bands.